Creeper of the Day

I’ve been going to the same state park to run on a semi-regular basis for years, literally years. About five of them now. Over those years the popularity of this place  has grown to the point that you can hardly run the wooded trails on the weekend because they’re overrun with crazy bikers. It’s a hot spot for triathlon training and the casual mountain biking enthusiast as well as for hikers, dog walkers, and ,of course, runners of all shapes and sizes. My point is, this place is not off the beaten path. Any weekend from April to November will find the trails there downright busy.

During the week it’s a slightly different story. The trails are way less populated. Once or twice I’ve even run for an hour and not seen another person…but that only happens if the weather is pretty bad (like the other day when I ran 11.5 miles; it was forty-five degrees, rainy, and miserable). Usually though there’s a few people out running or biking even at three in the afternoon and especially on the well marked paved trail.

Lately I’ve noticed some sketchy goings on in daytime hours at the state park. A couple weeks ago, just minutes after I parked, I saw a man and a woman get out of an suv. They walked over to a nearby car, she got in, he closed her door and went back to the suv. They each drove away in their separate vehicles. Suddenly I thought “They just had sex.” Then, “What? No!” Clearly I need to get out more if that’s the first place my mind wanders when left unattended. But then I went into the outhouse to change and right on top of the accumulation of excrement was a used condom. Right. On. Top.Yup,they totally just had afternoon sex in the parking lot of the state park.

The things you catch people doing at the state park. I smirked a little and went for a run.

Monday I was on the back leg of a 2.5 mile out and back run on what’s probably the most popular piece of trail in the park. It goes right by the main Trailhead parking lot, though I like to start at the trail’s origin about 3/4 of a mile farther down. So far that run I had encountered an older man walking his dog and a speedy runner  going the opposite direction. I’ve seen this guy a couple times before, he’s the obnoxiously fast type and at least once I’ve given him a look that clearly states my feelings about his speed. (disgust mingled with envy  tinged with admiration in case you were wondering) Shortly after exchanging looks with the fast guy I passed the one mile marker and rounded a corner just in time to catch a dude in a baseball cap just off the trail facing the woods…in the pee stance.

I did not see this guy’s junk but I’m 95% sure he was standing a mere two feet off the path urinating towards the woods. Maybe I’m wrong but I have four boys, I know what the pee stance looks like. His baggy shorts were lowered to hip level and he was looking down. If he wasn’t peeing he was doing something else that should not be done in public. Plus he muttered an apology as I ran by staring at him. Why apologize if you’re not doing something inappropriate? Talk about an awkward moment.

ND Gross

The thing of it is dude was less than a quarter mile from the outhouses at the trailhead. Seriously? I almost stopped and said something to that effect but I had a good run going and didn’t want to lose momentum.

A moment later I was still shaking my head over what I had just seen when I heard the rhythmic thud thud of another runner’s footsteps from behind me. Crap! The peeing creeper was catching up to me. Maybe he wanted to apologize again. Or maybe he just wanted to murder me, dump my body in the woods, and wear my skin. Overly dramatic? Maybe, but there was definitely an air of horror movie creepiness to the moment. I focused on keeping a steady pace while trying to turn my head enough to see the guy behind me without making it obvious that I was looking. Even in the best of circumstances I’m not very subtle; it was a challenge to not make this weirder than it already was. All I could tell is that it was a guy in shorts. As the thud thud of running feet hitting the pavement got closer the feeling I get when I’m in the woods at dusk was getting stronger. It’s a feeling that I call Stephen King scary.

Just then the speedy runner from earlier sailed by me with a head nod and a friendly smile. Relief swept through me and I fought the urge to laugh out loud at me creeping myself out like a thirteen year old girl.

 

You never know what kind of adventure you’ll find when you go out for a run.

 

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He Said Whaaaa???

This past dip in the pond of online dating, though it was a very short one, yielded some of my most interesting interactions of my online dating expedition thus far. There’s the good, the bad, and the funny and more than once I found myself shaking my head thinking “Did he really  just say that?” Spoiler alert:Yes he did.

Now there's a pick-up line that would actually work on me!

Now there’s a pick-up line that would actually work on me!

The Good Gone Bad

“You and I are probably apples and oranges but you’re adorable.”

Good opening line, right? Unfortunately after a little surface level banter he busted out this line: “Some friendly advice, try not to be so complicated. Guys don’t like that shit.” Ummm, what? I’m not even sure where this idea that I’m complicated came from…we hadn’t even started to get into the actual nitty gritty of my life. The five kids and crazy schedule with very little free time, you know, that stuff. Jeez! And I’m pretty sure the goal is to find a guy who likes me, not to change to get guys to like me. I told him as much.

You know how they say people will tell you who they really are so you should believe them? So true! After that this dude told me he could be sarcastic and that he had a nice way of insulting people to their faces and they’d just laugh it off (paraphrasing here). Is that supposed to be appealaing to me? He mixed lines like that in with things like “You really are very cute.” and “So how is someone like you still single?” (to which I responded: because I don’t date assholes.) Then after faux apologizing, the dude unloads this crazy story about how he had been an Olympic swimmer but got burned out on the training, he was with this woman who’s seven years younger than him for a long time and she suddenly told him she didn’t love him anymore and up & left, that his dad had died, and he’d been single for five months now because no one he had dated was “right”.

News flash, buddy, No one is going to be “right” until YOU are right. Take some time to get over that girl…and yourself. You think you can insult me and I won’t notice because you say something nice two sentences later?

Nope. I’ve already had that relationship and , Spoiler, it ended in divorce.

This one also had a great opener. “You are absolutely gorgeous. If you’re half as kind, as you are pretty, I’d probably end up being crazy about you. Are you attracted to scruffy musician types?”

It didn’t get too bad and he seemed pretty decent. We actually exchanged phone numbers and were talking about meeting but (surprise) our schedules weren’t meshing that week due to my kids’ spring break. We texted a little though and at one point, when I was driving back from Ohio, he made the comment that he would just be sitting home alone watching tv when I drove by. *hint hint*

Wanna know why he would just be sitting home watching tv? Because his kids would be in bed sleeping. Does he not realize that I could be a crazy psycho killer or worse, a stage 5 clinger or something?!?

And this one, this one just made me say “What is wrong with you people???” Like the others it started out okay: “I like your name. Well you may not believe this, but I also like Pina coladas and getting caught in the rain…and Batman. I like to boat and fish and be outdoors in the sun. I work at an industrial gas plant as a foreman. I love trying new beers…and retrying old ones! 🙂 I greatly dislike flying in planes but I will if I have to. Your turn for now!”

This wasn’t his opening message. He lead with the classic  lame “Tell me more about yourself.” To which I responded “I have more personal information in my profile than you do, why don’t you tell me about yourself?”

It lead to a few more messages one of which ended with this: “The picture of you in the short skirt and high boots kind of gets me going. 😉 I’m not a perv….just have a high drive for it.” Umm, okay. I didn’t really acknowledge that comment but responded to the rest of what he had said. Then there was this at the end of his next message: “So, I hope this isn’t poorly received, but how would one get to see more pictures like the short skirt picture? Or find out what’s under there? ;)”

A vagina. What do you expect to be under my skirt? And, no, you can’t see it. Adios.

Then there was the guy I talked to for over  a week. He seemed okay and, honestly, I wasn’t super interested but was giving him a one or two meeting chance as part of my “try something different” approach to dating. I was a little concerned because he lived about an hour away (sounds familiar right?). I expressed this concern to him but it did not dampen his enthusiasm. He assured me that he liked driving and would gladly come out my way regularly if I wanted.

After some consistent back and forth texting, mostly initiated by him…on an almost daily basis, (which had me wary of a certain unwarranted level of attachment on his end) we were making plans to meet the next day. And then this: “I should also tell you, I won’t have a car for like two more weeks, mine was totalled by a drunk driver and I still have a few weeks of saving to do before I buy my new one.” He went on to apologize for not saying something sooner and all that. Blah, blah, blah.

“So you wouldn’t be able to meet somewhere tomorrow?” I responded. “If it was around here I would. I really don’t have anyone to borrow a vehicle from.” Followed by more apologizing and talking about how he really does want to meet me… So….you think I’m going to drive over an hour to an area of the state that I’m totally unfamiliar with for a first meeting with a guy I found online??? That sounds like the beginning of a horror movie. No thank you! I haven’t heard from him since and it’s been four weeks. It’s okay though, I get the feeling I dodged a bullet on that one. There were a few signs of more clingyness than I can handle.

The Straight Up Bad

I know I mentioned in a post early in my online dating experience about some of the…straightforward messages I’ve received so I won’t go into those type of messages that I do occasionally get but there’s another type of bad that’s been creeping up…The You Owe It To Me guy. If you’ve online dated before you probably know what I’m talking about. The guy who messages you, most likely says nothing except “Hi” or ” how r u today”. You check out his profile and maybe don’t see anything that interests you or even see something that is a major red flag ( or something like this: “if you want to know anything about me ask even though i am sure alot of you ladies think you are better then me and everyone else i have to try this sorry if i am being too honest but thats how i am i speak my mind if you dont like it ohh well get over it. It does not matter what a person looks like really as long as they have a good heart and look for the beauty within a person.”)

So you ignore the message. Then he comes back with something along the lines of “Oh so you think ur to good to talk to me”…Umm, nope. But just because you took all of one second to message me a few words does not mean I am obliged to respond and now I really don’t want to talk to you…let alone entertain the idea of meeting you. Does this approach actually work for anyone???

The Ood  Odd

One guy I was talking to last week seemed pretty normal. He gave me his phone number and we started texting back and forth a bit, mostly about food since we both happened to be preparing dinner at the time. I mentioned I was cooking for my kids. Usually I throw out that I have kids (it is on my profile too but I don’t have pictures of them or mention them in my write up at all so I think people forget) He took the bait and asked “How old are your little ones?” Umm, yeah, some of them are not so little. I told him as much and that there are five of them…there was a notable pause, an increase in response time before he came back with “How many dads?” That one caught me by surprise, I’ve never been asked that but it’s a valid question. At this point I thought for sure he was about to run away. It’s okay, it happens. But then it didn’t…

We talked for a few more days, food came up a lot. That first evening he mentioned that he loves milk but buys 1/2% even though 2% is his favorite…”Less fat obviously.” Then he mentioned that he’s “trying to avoid bread…even tho i luv it” and later that he’s going on a high protein diet. When he commented “i luv chz (cheese). Thinking about giving it up tho.” I just had to laugh. Seriously, from his pictures he looks like a pretty skinny guy too. I just don’t understand. I told him no one should give up cheese…ever!

Shortly after that comment, though I don’t think it was related, he asked if I had a picture I could send him. Crap! I understand wanting to see that the person you’re talking to is who they say they are and that a lot of people use misleading photos on dating websites BUT my phone won’t send picture messages right now. Lame, very lame, I know. And I said as much to him. He seemed a bit miffed by this saying “That is lame…lol…who the hell cant send pics in 2015??? Ha.”  Welll, me. That’s who. I explained how I had just switched phones and a whole bit about SIM cards and stuff. The more I explained the weirder it sounded. Double crap! I thought this was it for this guy…he is surely going to run away now. But he didn’t.

The next day he texted & asked how I was…and what I was making for dinner. I had to chuckle. Isn’t there some saying about the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach? Maybe there’s some truth to that. (I’m fairly certain being able to cook doesn’t hurt with guys…ever). Admittedly this one was a little odd with his food issues but I found it amusing, almost charming. My friend pointed out that he had “fat kid food issues”. Oh, now it made sense. Okay. I can deal with that.  In fact, this guy’s oddness made me more curious to meet him. I really wanted to see how it translated in person. He commented that “we seem to like similar food. I think ud like arabic food…maybe we should try it together sometime. Theres a restaurant near my condo thats good.”  I expressed an interest but there was no asking about an actual time that would work or attempt to make plans quite yet. It was a promising sign though.

And then he upped the oddness ante. “Random question” he asked “what size shoe do u wear?…im assuming small since ur 5’2” Yup, that’s random. Apparently he’s “attracted to small feet”. I told him my shoe size (which is not actually very small). Curiouser and curiouser.

I think the feet did it though. We chatted a little more that evening but that was the last day I heard from him. I texted a few days later and got no response. After all that, the five kids & not being able to send pics, it seems it was my big feet that finally killed my chances with this one. Not going to lie, I was slightly disappointed. I’ve never met anyone with food issues AND a foot fetish. Plus he had a very normal nine to five, weekends off work schedule. Odd AND available. Huh, too bad.

no Ood or drink

The Key to Happiness is Low Expectations.

said Barry Scwartz (His actual wording is “The secret to happiness is low expectations.”).
I kind of thought I said it first, that it was an original idea of my very own. Turns out Solomon (ya know, the biblical guy) was right when he said “There’s nothing new under the sun.” Or something to that effect.
So this guy Barry Schwartz has a whole book about low expectations leading to higher levels of happiness. I haven’t read it but I did watch his TED talk about the book which is called “The Paradox of Choice”. It frames the concept of low expectations contributing to happiness in the context of choices; I came to this conclusion based more on my interactions with people.

Another way I’ve phrased it, to myself, is “The key to not being disappointed is low expectations.”
This idea is one I developed over the past couple years of life experiences. After being let down, stood up, blown off, and generally disappointed with people it occurred to me over and over that if I expect less from people I won’t be disappointed and angry when they aren’t there for me or don’t follow through with what they say they’re going to do. They would merely live up to my expectations of them.
Maybe this sounds cynical or pessimistic. I won’t deny being a little cynical at times but I think , in this case, I’m just being realistic.

Think about a movie that has gotten a lot of media hype. The reviews are great, the ratings are high. You go to see it with high expectations. Chances are you are going to be disappointed. Your preconceived ideas of what the movie should be lead to a less than satisfactory experience when you actually get around to see the movie.
Now think of the last movie you saw that you just didn’t expect that much from.
You weren’t disappointed were you? Chances are it was either exactly as bad as you expected it to be or you were pleasantly surprised. You thought it was going to be terrible and ,hey, it really wasn’t that bad…maybe it was even good. The blogger Ladygoogoogaga gives a pretty hilarious example of this.

An experience I had Last Mother’s Day shows the relationship between expectations and happiness and how it played out in my life.
I work every other weekend and my kids are with their dad on the weekends I work. Last year I worked Mother’s Day weekend but my ex-husband oh so generously let me take the kids for the day on Mother’s Day. I went straight from working a twelve hour night shift to his house to pick up the kids.
I just wanted to see my kids and have a nice Mother’s Day with them. You know, like in all the Hallmark commercials, full of smiles, sunshine, and happiness.
I knew they were alone so I called to tell them I was on my way. When I arrived they were not ready to leave. A couple of them were in a less than good mood, maybe they had been fighting with each other like siblings do. I was a little annoyed. My daughter and second to youngest son said “Happy Mother’s Day” and my daughter had made me a card. That was nice.
My oldest two gave me attitude.
That was not.
When we got back to my house the kids made me lunch…because I told them to. Then we all sat down to a rather grouchy meal.
At that point I remember thinking “I thought this would be a nice day, I should’ve just slept.” I was expecting to be appreciated and to enjoy time with my kids. That is the point of the day right? Most my kids are old enough to know and do something about this.
A little later that day my eight year old son told me that their dad had told them they “would probably have a new step-mom by this time next year” in reference to the woman he’d been dating for a month. Happy fucking Mother’s Day to me!
Here’s the thing, I was super tired. My kids were tired and probably having a bad weekend. Expecting a pleasant and lovely day was unrealistic and not especially fair to them. If I was more in touch with reality that day I would not have been so disappointed.

Here’s another example. There was this guy I would go out with from time to time. He always said nice things and really seemed to enjoy our time together. We’d make plans to go out and he’d say he was looking forward to it. Then five out of six times he would cancel on me. Sometimes the day before. Once or twice I would be on my way to meet him and he’d call or text with something that had come up. Each time I would be frustrated and upset. But every few weeks I’d make plans with him again. Most of the time I ended up alone, upset, and extremely disappointed.
This went on for a few months.
I let this go on for a few months.
I don’t think he was lying to me or making up excuses because he didn’t want to see me. I just think he had a lot of family drama to deal with and didn’t realize how much he was letting me down.
Obviously he was not a reliable person but I kept expecting him to be.
We all know at least one person like that.
We also all know or have had interactions with someone who is just a jerk.
I know everyone is a jerk or behaves badly once in a while; that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about individuals who make a habit of it. They repeatedly treat people close to them badly. They’re inherently selfish and can be pretty mean. Hopefully you’re not close to someone like that. It’s not a fun place to be. But if someone has been a jerk to you or treated you badly over and over again chances are high that they will treat you badly in the future. Expecting them to suddenly be or act differently is unrealistic and is only setting yourself up to be treated badly.
It’s like expecting Eminem to release a kid friendly album. It’s just not going to happen; that’s not who he is. He even says it in one of the songs on his latest album, “Everyone knows you are just an asshole” (referring to himself).
He’s not going to change. He’s going to be what he is and what he’s shown himself to be.

image

To expect anything different would be silly.

I’m not by any means saying you should settle for or allow yourself to be treated badly.
I’m not saying you need to lower your standards in life.
Not at all.
Have standards. Have high standards. You deserve to be respected, to be treated with dignity.
Every human being does.
But you should have realistic expectations for people. There are no perfect people especially in relationships. If you’re waiting for prince charming or that perfect woman, guess what.
You will always be disappointed.

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Life isn't a fairy tale, you're not Snow White.

Having unobtainable ideals will guarantee that no one will live up to them. You are setting yourself up to be unhappy either with the person you do find or because you just can’t find anyone good enough.
People are who they are; you can’t change them but you can change your expectations for them and be less disappointed. If you have to lower your expectations too much then maybe that isn’t a person you should have in your life.

A conversation between my co-blogger(and friend and co-worker) and myself last night summed up the point I’m trying to make. The question was asked “What one person, dead or alive, would you have coffee with if you had the chance?”
I said Batman.
image

She said her great-grandfather.
She knew him and admired him when she was very young and he was very old.
She said she’d like the chance to get to actually know who he was as a person. My response was “But what if you find out that he was a douche bag?” Yeah, I know, real mature language.
But what if you found out that someone you admired as a young child was not nice or not the person you had thought they were? Not only would you feel let down and disappointed, but the cherished memories you had of that person would also be ruined. It would be a major disillusionment.
She said that No, she wouldn’t be disillusioned or admire him any less because she “wouldn’t expect him to be anything less than human.”
How she remembered him would still make him the person he was to her.
Basically our conversation boiled down to this:
It is unfair to other people and especially to ourselves to expect people to be anything other than who they are.
Lower your expectations and you will not be disappointed.
Maybe it’ll even allow you to be happy.